Outdoor Fireplace Landscaping

The flexibility of masonry materials adds considerably to the fun of working with them; you can be imaginative and creative when tackling outdoor fireplace landscaping. A concrete slab does not have to be a hot prairie playground; the surface is not limited to “smooth” or “rough”; the color is not limited to cement gray. Brick and masonry units, thanks to new developments, are no longer prosaic, uninspiring building materials.

The truth about an amateur project is that the results can be every bit as good as a job done by a professional. Both in appearance and structurally, the job you do can rate A-l on the building inspector’s card. There will be a difference in time due to the fact that the pro can work faster, but the amateur need not worry about .speed–the end result is more important than the time needed to accomplish it. The mixture for concrete, actually an artificial stone, consists of a blend of fine and coarse aggregates, each piece of which is completely surrounded and held to its mates by hardened Portland cement paste. A chemical reaction, which occurs ideally due to favorable temperatures and the presence of moisture while curing, causes the paste to harden. The water to cement ratio is probably the most important factor as far as the strength of mix is concerned. Too much water will result in a thin, diluted cement-paste that will be weak and porous when it hardens. It will not bond the aggregates nor will it be watertight. The correct water-cement paste, and this is important, produces a mix with maximum strength which is necessary for outdoor fireplace landscaping. The amateur will often use more water than necessary because it makes a more fluid mix that flows easily into the forms. Such a project may look O.K. to begin with (although there will probably be finishing problems due to excess moisture), but it will eventually be discovered to lack strength and durability.

About Patio Fireplaces

With a nice patio extending your house into the yard, it’s a perfect addition when a fireplace accompanies your outdoor leisure. Like a fire on a camping trip, people love the crackling of the fire and the warmth it throws. When the fireplace meets with the theme of the patio, it seems like one structure. A fireplace simply grows out of the ground and the chimney extends itself into the sky.

An impressive patio fireplace I once observed was made from a white rock that matched the patio theme. The same rock made the walls of the patio where benches lined the outer edges. The fireplace itself was square with an opening on the inside and outside of the fire area so that warmth could be enjoyed on either side.

The fireplace is rather large and does indeed have a grill insert for accommodating patio cookouts. It also has a tuner that could hold a pig for a roast. But when I asked the homeowners how much it all cost them, they just shook their heads. I didn’t want to know.

I’ve seen brick outdoor fireplaces that matched the brick patio. I’ve also seen brick fireplaces to accompany the wooden deck. The wood was treated with a fire retardant and it really did look rather distinct. The structure for that particular fireplace was built to the ground so that a solid base existed. But, there was also a patio area on ground level and the fireplace had two different openings.

These are really nice structures that add class to any patio or deck. They may take awhile to build and they might cost a little money. But, it’s worth it to have the added comfort and style you want.

If your pocket book can’t quite handle the structure of the fireplace on the patio or the deck, there is an alternative you might like. There are ventless gel fireplaces that are made for the patio. An iron stand holds the chimney in its place so that you can enjoy the fire wherever you place it. A whole assortment of patio products are offered for an outdoor fireplace experience you’ll just love.

When you begin to let your imagination run wild, you see the many possibilities that exist. A fireplace on the patio might be the last thing you would have ever thought about. But now that the thought is in your head, I’d be willing to bet that you’ll look into it. It’s very captivating. And with the ventless gel, money won’t be your holdup.

Retaining Wall To Build

Still, building with stone can be a rewarding project for patient first-timers. In most areas, you can have pallets of stone delivered. And a few inexpensive tools, such as a mason’s hammer, will make the work go more smoothly. Stonewalls can be stacked dry using stone and rubble for backfill.
Dry walls are built on a base of compacted gravel. It’s important for hidden backfill stones to be stacked just as securely as visible “face” stones. All voids inside the wall should be filled with rubble.

Another option is to stack the face stones dry, then backfill with stone and mortar. This type of construction requires a deeper (24 in.) compacted-gravel base. Finally, you can mortar the joints between stones. These walls should be built on a poured-concrete footing with rebar placed horizontally in the footing and vertically to extend through the wall as it is built up. All “wet” walls need a drain in the backfill or weep holes to relieve pressure from water that seeps behind the wall.

These retaining walls come in a variety of styles, patterns, and colors. There are tumbled blocks of uniform size that simulate the look of quarried granite; blocks of varying sizes that form patterns to look like natural stone; and split-faced blocks that look like what they are: concrete. In fact, these blocks are made from really strong concrete; most have a compressive strength of 5000 psi.

Block retaining-wall systems are available from a number of manufacturers. Prices vary between manufactures styles. Each company sometimes each style has its own interlocking system. Allan blocks are probable the most widely used.

Most systems are comprised of a few different components, including the basic wall blocks, corner blocks, and cap pieces. The good news is that neither of these walls are so complicated, that you can’t do it yourself.

The trick is to get the first course level. Then it is mostly a matter of stacking blocks and backfilling. Many systems even incorporate a setback into the design so that as you build up, the wall automatically pitches back into the retained earth behind. It is hard to avoid cutting blocks, but the only specialty tools you’ll need are a masonry or diamond blade for your circular saw and a mason’s chisel.

These interlocking systems are versatile enough for most designs. Curved walls can be built, and matching steps and walks can be incorporated. Some manufacturers will send a representative to help you figure out just what you need for your project.

After you build your retaining walls you are going to want to get ideas on lawn and garden ornaments to make things look really nice. Go to our main garden décor [http://www.decormotif.com/GardenDecor/] are of our site to get more information. If you plan on an elaborate landscape theme you should read this article about landscape design [http://www.decormotif.com/GardenDecor/landscape_design.html]
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Ornamental Grasses

Blue Oat Grass

Without a doubt, Blue Oat Grass is one of the most popular ornamental grasses for fall landscapes. The large, densely blue colored foliage is attractive year round, but also provides beautiful flowers from June to August. While Blue Oat Grass does well in most mild to moderate climate zones, it is also fairly drought tolerant, only needing water every 1-2 weeks. For these mild to moderate climate zones, Blue Oat Grass can also make a great winter landscape choice as well.

Fountain Grass

Another large ornamental grass, Fountain Grass is another favorite choice of gardeners who prefer ornamental grasses for fall landscapes. Fountain Grass produces beautiful green foliage through the year, but the grass turns a golden yellow in the fall, adding to your fall landscape. This large ornamental grass can reach anywhere from 1 to 3 feet at full maturity. Keep in mind that this is an excellent summer landscape choice as it also offers beautiful white to purple flowers that will last until early winter.

Big Bluestem

A beautiful, tall prairie-like ornamental grass, the Big Bluestem can reach up to 8 feet in height, so be very careful where this ornamental grass is planted. The Big Bluestem truly is one of the perfect ornamental grasses for fall landscapes as the flowers wait until late summer or early fall to bloom and the fall foliage is also a vibrant orange color. Throughout the rest of the year, the foliage remains a bluish-green. While it does not have much presence throughout the winter months, it will begin to regrow in April and become beautiful again by the early summer months.

Feather Reed Grass

A wonderful, medium sized plant, growing 3 to 5 feet at total maturity, Feather Reed Grass is another favorite among ornamental grasses for fall landscapes. This is also a favorite year round plant that grows well in almost any climate zone, although it may grow smaller in extremely warm climate zones. Flowers will occur in the mid summer months, a white to red color and will change to a beige color in the fall and into the winter months. Keep in mind that the wonderful temperament of this plant means that it can withstand excessive watering, sun or even lots of shade.

Landscape and Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is most effective when used sparingly and in specific spots. Your garden is the transition space between the outside world and your own home. The right lighting can make your garden into another room of your house as well as providing an attractive outlook from inside. And your garden can look surprisingly different at night-time. Just a few lights in appropriate places will create interesting pools of light and shadow. Directional lighting will highlight features that may go unnoticed during the day, like the bark of a silver birch or a eucalypt, or a tinkling fountain. Even sheets of falling rain and swirling shrouds of mist can become dramatic features of your landscape with the right lighting.

Do check that your directional lighting shines onto the feature you intend it to and not into your neighbour’s bedroom window. And consider that a tree you want to highlight may be home to birds and other wild-life. You can minimize disruption to their habitat by using an automatic time-clock on your lighting.

For driveways, paths and steps, use lights that are directed to your feet to create pools of light to guide you. A light that is too high will shine into your face and leave the path and steps in shadow. A lamp next to your front door may look attractive, but a pool of light directed onto the door knocker, the keyhole and the step will provide a safer and warmer welcome for you and your visitors.

Choose colour temperatures to suit what you are trying to light and the mood you are trying to create. The colour temperature of a light is measured in Kelvins (K). The higher the colour temperature, the cooler the light will look. For example, metal halide lamps have a high, cool colour temperature that makes the greens and blues of the foliage in your garden look fresh and bright. Lamps with low, warm colour temperatures bring out the warmth of reds and oranges, like candlelight. An example of cool and warm colour temperature lighting complementing each other in your garden design would be to create a cool, fresh garden with warm pools of light around the paved areas where people gather and sit or linger over a candle-lit dinner.

The Colour Rendering Index(CRI) indicates how a light reacts under different parts of the colour spectrum. This applies particularly to metal halide and fluorescent lights, affecting the appearance of flowers and shrubs and also skin tones. And low-pressure sodium lights give out a huge amount of light but suppress both greens and reds, so that everything looks yellow and grey. Which brings us back to that traffic intersection.

Landscaping In Arid Conditions

Coming Up With A Scheme

Firstly you should look around for photographs to inspire you. Settling on the overall design scheme is possibly the most demanding part of the process. For success you not only need to have an idea about what you want but also how it can be adapted to work with your resources and actual space you are working with.

Designing The Desert

Even a décor of rocks and stones can be jazzed up by bringing in boulders of different shapes, color and sizes. Don’t forget to mix them up with native desert planting for a softer look.

Desert Garden

The key to a successful desert garden is to select planting that is adapted to the local growing conditions, even flowers. Use a variety of plants to add texture to create your scheme, keeping the taller ones towards the back.

A Room With A View

When designing your outdoor space, keep in mind how the backyard will look from inside your home. The view can inspire you and your guests to step out and enjoy its beautiful setting.

Water Features In The Desert

Whether you are thinking small pond or large swimming pool, a water feature will bring relief from the hot and dry weather: this can not only bring your design scheme together and add a sense of fun to the result, but will also act as a people magnet when you entertain.

Put A Pond in Back Yard

Landscaping your pond starts at the pond itself. Create a border by adding stones, plants and statuary that will create a great view. You should also create a walkway from your pond to your house. Access is important and easily accomplished by using stepping stones, etc.Trees are both beneficial and harmful to your pond. Trees provide shade that will be good for your pond but they will also add to debris such as branches and leaves or fallen fruit The key is to strike a balance between the two. Shrubs will also play a role in maintaining unity between the tall trees and the low pond. They will create continuity from your pond to the trees. You may also add some flowers to provide some color. Be sure to cut the off the old blossoms to prevent debris that can make your area unsightly.Water plants are a must for ponds and should be added immediately after your pond has been finished. Use similar colored plants as their surroundings to create some balance and harmony between the two. Be creative and do some research on different kinds of water plants to use.A finishing touch for a pond is adding some fish. Add them after everything else has been finished. Always select appropriate species of fish that will not out-grow the size of your pond.Creating a pond for your yard will both be tiring, but the fun of creating it will be rewarding. Be sure that do regular maintenance to so it will always be free from debris. After all of your work is finished, enjoy your pond and marvel the harmony you have created in your yard.

Teak Chair

Teak, a hard strong durable yellowish-brown wood, grows in the region of Southeast Asia, mainly in Java, Indonesia, and is harvested from the surrounding forests and teak plantations by the locals and the Indonesian government. The wood of the teak tree is naturally resistant to insects, warping, splintering and the elements, which makes it an ideal wood for creating chairs and other outdoor furnishings.

Many people choose teak over other natural materials because it requires no sealing, varnishing or finishing, and it only gets better as it weathers. A teak chair is able to withstand the elements for decades; retain its beauty, durability and smooth texture; and, over the course of time, weather to a gorgeous silvery color.

Not only are teak chairs durable, they come in a vast array of styles and designs to complement your individual personality and space. You can make your selection from numerous different pieces of teak furniture including teak Adirondack chairs, teak dining chairs, teak rocking chairs, teak swings, and teak folding chairs, just to name a few.

There are also a large number of teak chair styles to choose from. No matter whether you prefer the intricately carved designs often associated with country French designs or the sleek lines of the teak Adirondack chair, you will not be disappointed when you shop for teak chairs. Some of the styles available include Nantucket, Derby, Normandy, Mandalay and many, many more.

If you find that you are in the mood for a little color, you can add your own stylish flair with a couple of throw pillows or teak chair cushions. There are over 40 colors available, and you can choose from both solid colored fabrics and patterns.

And teak chairs are affordable. While you may find that you spend a fraction more on teak chairs than chairs made with other materials, you will be more than compensated by this furniture’s beauty, comfort and durability. To help put it into perspective, think of how often you have to purchase outdoor furniture because it has succumbed to the elements and is not attractive anymore. Wouldn’t it be worth it to spend a little more, but enjoy that furniture for decades? Not only that, but there is very little maintenance required for teak furniture. How much more will you spend staining and finishing weathered outdoor furniture made out of other kinds of materials? After you take all of this into consideration, you would agree that teak furniture is the better buy.

Landscape Rock

Landscape rock doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to maneuver with any backyard project ever again. Now there is a great new method of creating the size, the shape, and the color of your landscape rocks and stones to fit perfectly into your landscaping design. Everyone loves the peaceful serenity of a waterfall, now you can create your own quiet and tranquil setting at home.

CaveRock Design has copyrighted the first residential backyard do-it-yourself artificial rocks, boulders, and waterfall formula that literally anyone can afford and apply. The method is simple, yet very versatile and durable. They have already established customers around the globe using this ideal process of making the landscape rocks and boulders for many personal projects.

Artificial rock is now curbing the rock and stone business to accommodate the weekend warriors, who just want to spice up their landscape and not spend a fortune on the materials.

Landscape rock has always involved heavy lifting and difficult placement. Most of the time a landscaper has to work around the rock work that’s in place or settle for what they can manage to do with large landscape rock. This is remarkably easy to do and the build time is virtually a couple of days for a large project. The time savings alone is priceless.

A new application has been made to create a cave-like project for the kids or grandkids and show off your new found skills. This will surely impress the family, once you tell them you are a cave builder.

Doubling as a kid’s cave, CaveRock Design’s process also allows the victory gardener to create a place to store the daily gardening tools or a place to put your tools away from the elements and keep them handy as well.

Prior to CaveRock Design’s formula, the only place you would find this type of artificial rock formations would be at miniature golf course or a theme-park. Now when you see those picture perfect artificial rocks, and waterfalls, you can say, I can create my own artificial rocks, boulders, or stones, to make the perfect landscape design and create my very own backyard waterfall.

Spring, Time to Plan Landscaping

Say Hello with Flowers this Spring

Simply put, flowers are an invitation to enter. Flowers always make a home seem more welcoming. Prettify your entrance with an assortment of annuals and perennials to keep the colors going all year long. Pansy, Day Lily and Russian Sage are great additions to set the stage.

If you have a small space between your house and the street, try putting a low fence in front. It gives the illusion that your house is farther from the street than it really is, and it also makes for a great space for planting flowers and vines.

Landscaping with Vines-Let the Romance Begin

There’s nothing more quixotic than lush green tendrils meandering around fences and retaining walls. Your landscaper can guide you to the all-important non-invasive varieties-Trumpet Honeysuckle, Clematis, and Morning Glory. All vines can be trained to grow on a fence or in a container, if that’s the preference.

Don’t Forget to Include the Driveway in Your Landscaping Project

By carefully sculpting the landscape and choosing the right plants and materials, you can hide an unattractive driveway. Or, you can consider if the time is right to replace that broken cement with beautiful new pavers. Many landscape portfolios show how the combination of landscape and hardscape can transform your property into the Garden of Eden. A low hedge with create an elegant look that can be combined with annuals and perennials. Depending on the look and feel of your home, this landscaping can be trim and stylish or a bit wild.

Blooms, Blooms…It’s Spring We Presume

Ask anyone who knows-the easiest way to make over the look of your home landscape is blooms. Blossoming trees, shrubs, and flowers provide maximum impact. And you can change color quick as a wink! Ask your landscaper for recommendations; Chinese Snowballs, Flowering Plum, Crepe Myrtle, Magnolia are just a few northeast favorites.

Factor in the Unexpected for a Spectacular Landscape

Even the smallest space can house a surprise. A fountain, statue, bench or a special flower display atop a breathtaking stone wall can provide your guests with a “wow” factor that makes your home both a neighborhood showplace and a portfolio entry . In a trim and elegant yardscape, an area of wildflowers can take a visitor’s breath away!

Choosing the right landscaping organization is a must for creating a garden wonderland that offers an oasis from the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Do your research-get referrals and references- to locate a knowledgeable, experienced and cooperative professional partner. Homeowners are a fortunate group; the portfolio for spring landscaping ideas is varied and vast.